Nacho Vigalondo

Sasha Grey in OPEN WINDOWS

2007′s Timecrimes is a sharp time travel film that makes you believe the unbelievable in a movie with an impossible concept. Unfortunately, Nacho Vigilando fails to capture that same magic with his latest film, Open Windows. It’s a mixed bag that shows promise at the start before fizzling out in the last 30 minutes. Its technique is ambitious, but the final result is not. Nick Chambers (Elijah Wood) is visiting Austin to meet his favorite actress, Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey). She’s in town for Fantastic Fest to promote a comically terrible-looking cheap sci-fi sequel. Based on the clip, Jill is the kind of bad actress who still has her fans, including Nick, who runs a fansite for her. He was flown down to Austin to have dinner with Jill for an interview, but it’s unexpectedly cancelled by a mysterious figure (Neil Maskell). Since that figure’s voice is an English accent, you know something’s wrong from the start.

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The Fantastic Corpse

Why Watch? Chances are that you played the Rotating Corpse game at one point in your life, especially if you were brutally subjected to a creative writing class. The rules are simple — multiple artists create a single piece of art without knowing what the other artists contributed. It’s how you get an elephant with a flame thrower for a trunk, or a story about a man who bakes a pie, flies to the moon and kidnaps a princess. It’s often less about the disjointed final result and more about the challenge of the restraint, but a crew at Fantastic Fest decided to have some fun with it, and the result is a short film experiment that works far better than the ABCs of Death toss-up. This particular monster was cobbled together over five days by Oren Carmi (Goldberg & Eisenberg), Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes), James Ward Byrkit (Coherence), Matthew Johnson (The Dirties) and Eugenio Mira (Agnosia, Grand Piano) and features two actors who are put through the ringer in true No Hay Banda fashion. Although the central location of an empty Alamo Drafthouse movie theater seems to have restrained the restraint (some common themes and ideas persevere despite the presumed ignorance of the filmmakers), it’s a fun curiosity with syrupy sarcasm and a doctor’s dose of stagey violence.

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Open Windows

Were you such a fan of the Ethan Hawke/Selena Gomez instant classic Getaway that you have to see it again, only you’d like to see it kind of modified? Have I got a treat for you. Sit down for Nacho Vigalondo‘s Open Windows, a puzzling thriller that replaces the car with a webcam, Hawke for Elijah Wood, and the disembodied voice with…another disembodied voice. Wood stars as the creepy but well-meaning fanboy/webmaster of a website dedicated to what looks like paparazzi shots of his favorite actress, Jill Godard (Sasha Grey). Without any prompting (RED FLAG), a Disembodied Voice gives him a code for a secret webcam pointed on Jill. Thanks, buddy! You know the drill, though; if Wood doesn’t do what he says, Jill dies. After a lot of furious typing and nineties hacking technology streaming across the screen, because he’s a computer genius, the trailer devolves into some kind of action-y mess. Check out the trailer for yourself after the break.

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Michael Fassbender

What is Casting Couch? It’s where you go to make sure Elijah Wood is adding another new job to his calendar every day. Turns out, today he kept the streak alive, read on… Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender are two of the best actors on the planet Earth; objectively, inarguably. What a coup, then, that director Michael Grandage has landed both of them for his upcoming project, Genius. Based on a book by A. Scott Berg, Genius is a biopic that explores the relationship between Thomas Wolfe (Fassbender) and his editor Max Perkins (Firth). Turns out Wolfe and Perkins were great friends, but the kind who butted heads over everything. Sure, listening to two guys argue over word choice wouldn’t normally sound like a very exciting idea for a movie, but with these two actors on board it absolutely does. Add this one to your to-do list. [Variety]

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Unfortunately, the visionary filmmaker Chris Marker died today, leaving behind a legacy most notably marked by his playful and often haunting explorations of persistence through time, personality and human identity. Most famous for La Jetée, which was the inspiration for 12 Monkeys years later, it’s clear that his films had a profound impact on the world. This short film from Nacho Vigalondo is most likely part of that Marker tradition. In it, a man recounts a woman’s strange alterations in relation to where she is – a problem that grows more and more out of control, leading to a powerful reflective lesson. It’s a beautiful movie that makes great use of simple techniques that create a powerful (and lonely) effect. Hat tip to @bonnequin for sending it out into the world and for her keen observation. What will it cost you? Only 4 joyous minutes of your life. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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Foreign Objects - Large

The romantic comedy is a genre represented most frequently by stale, generic films that follow a paint-by-numbers formula devoid of personality and charm. To be sure, even the best examples follow a well established structure, but they also manage to make their characters endearing and likeable in situations both entertaining and recognizable. That recognition factor is important, so it’s rare to find a rom-com willing to take chances with its setup and subvert expectations along the way. Julio (Julián Villagrán) awakens in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar apartment with a vaguely familiar woman. He sees Julia (Michelle Jenner) walking about clad only in a t-shirt, but whatever magic worked the night before to earn him an invite back to her place is apparently in short supply the morning after. She hurries him along, hustling him on his way, but they’re interrupted by Julia’s nosy neighbor, Angel (Carlos Areces). Angel has a crush on his beautiful neighbor and is immediately jealous of Julio’s presence. Further complicating matters is the arrival of a man named Carlos (Raul Cimas)… Julia’s live-in boyfriend. The remainder of writer/director Nacho Vigalondo‘s film, set mostly in and around the apartment, sees the quartet dodging and weaving with the best of their rom-com brethren. Julio and Julia flirt (and fornicate!) beneath Carlos’ nose while he occupies an odd amalgamated role that’s part cuckold and part catalyst for third act drama. Angel meanwhile becomes a thorn in the cheating lovers’ sides as he threatens to blow their secret […]

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Nacho Vigalondo Extraterrestrial

Let’s face it. When the alien invasion comes (and it will), most of us are going to be useless to help fight them back. We’re either going to be hiding or running for our lives into government-run bunkers. Nacho Vigalondo gets this, which is part of the reason why he chose not to focus on the heroes for his latest film, Extraterrestrial. His follow-up to TimeCrimes is a sci-fi flick married to a conversational screwball romantic comedy. He was gracious enough to give us a glimpse of his madcap mind – explaining his love for guilty characters, celebrating Invasion of the Body Snatchers and explaining the connection between his latest movie and the TV show Moonlighting. Extraterrestrial is out Friday, June 15 in select theaters, and you can demand it through Tugg.

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Nacho Vigalondo‘s Timecrimes was a different kind of time travel movie, and his second feature, Extraterrestrial, is definitely a different kind of alien invasion. The new trailer has a creepy sort of vibe, both from the miles-wide ship that lands and from the young man who wakes up in a gorgeous woman’s apartment. Apparently he’s got incredible beer goggles and a desire to video tape her while she sleeps. It’s a great trailer for a great movie, but it’s not telling the whole story. Check it out for yourself:

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He’s already writing the script, so why not take a seat in the director’s chair as well? Steve Zaillian is probably best known as a writer (for modern classics like Schindler’s List and for this year’s double feature of Moneyball and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), but he’s also done some strong directing work with Searching For Bobby Fischer and A Civil Action. He’s already on board to write a remake of Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes, and now The Playlist is reporting that he’s considering directing as well. It would undoubtedly be a different sandbox for him to play in, but the biggest question is whether the magic of the original can be maintained in a domestic version from a man more known for broadly appealing adult drama. The original is rightfully hailed, but it’s also a cult movie for a reason. Plus, when Zaillian infamously remade All the King’s Men, he never saw the original film, and the result was disastrous. At least with Vigalondo’s work, there’s no other source material, so Zaillian had to watch it in order to write the script. You know, theoretically. And, yes, this is another foreign remake under Zaillian’s belt. It’s an interesting new line of work to go into.

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Another day, another lineup announcement from AFI FEST 2011 that sends me positively reeling. Today sees the film festival rolling out their World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short selections. Today also sees me jumping up and down and repeatedly screaming, “ALPS! ALPS! ALPPPPSSSS!” As has been the trend with AFI FEST’s recent lineup announcements, this crop of films guarantees that the festival is a can’t-miss for any film buffs in the Los Angeles area. There’s a number of titles here that festival-obsessed cinephiles will recognize from recent events – films like Ben Wheatley‘s Kill List, Morten Tyldum‘s Headhunters, Jean-Baptiste Léonetti‘s Carre Blanc, Nacho Vigalondo’s Extraterrestrial, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film, and for Dogtooth obsessives like me, Yorgos Lanthimos‘s Alps. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). Free, guys, free. After the break, check out the full list of the films to be featured as AFI FEST World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short Film selections.

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A beam of light threatens the poor, hungover eyeballs of Julio (Julián Villagrán) who wakes up in a bed he’s never been in before. That bed belongs to Julia (Michelle Jenner) who slinks around her apartment cleaning up from a night of drinking and random sex with a stranger. Up in the sky, a UFO has appeared floating above the city. In fact, they’re all over the place. Overnight, while two people were blacked out drunk, at least thirty have appeared over Spain. Who knows how many more all over the world. However, writer/director Nacho Vigalondo is less concerned about the ship and more concerned about the play-like humor and drama to be mined from a tangled relationship because, as it turns out, Julia is in high demand (especially by her boyfriend).

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If you somehow aren’t aware by now, we take Fantastic Fest pretty seriously ’round these parts. America’s largest genre festival will kick the doors off the hinges for its 7th incarnation this September, and your faithful crew here at Starship Reject could not be more excited. As always, we’ll be assembling our Fantastic Fest Death Squad to attempt the insane goal of reviewing each and every film that plays this year. Take a gander at some of the titles that have jumped out at us from this latest batch. First up is Lars Von Trier‘s Melancholia. Antichrist was huge at Fantastic Fest back in 2009, and the buzz out of Cannes and from a brief run in LA has me chomping at the bit to see Von Trier’s latest as soon as possible. While certainly polarizing, Von Trier is also an extremely versatile and uncompromising filmmaker, and I can’t wait to see him put his own unique spin on a story with sci-fi elements. You can bet the Rejects will be first in line for this one come September. You also know we’re looking forward to You’re Next, the new film from the team behind last year’s A Horrible Way to Die. While their previous effort wasn’t a perfect film, the last 20 minutes in particular were chilling and showed quite a bit of promise with their fresh take on serial killer celebrity. Adam Wingard returns to direct You’re Next, and genre favorite AJ Bowen joins a cast that includes […]

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By now you’ve already heard about The ABCs of Death – the anthology project being put together by Drafthouse Films, Timpson Films and Magnet. 26 directors, 26 letters of the alphabet, and 26 tales of horror and gore. The complete list of directors includes: Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis, Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Jason Eisener, Bruno Forzani and Helene, Adrian Garcia Bogliao, Xavier Gens, Noburo Iguchi, Thomas Malling, Yoshihiro Nishimura, J.T. Petty, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Simon Rumley, Marcel Sarmiento, Chris Smith, Srdjan Spasojevic, Timo Tjahjanto, Andrew Traucki, Nacho Vigalondo, Jake West, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Anders Wulffmorgenthaler, and Yudai Yamaguchi. You no doubt counted that list and saw 26 filmmakers. You also noticed that two of them are a filmmaking pair, which means they still need one more to complete the series. That’s where you come in. This is your chance to have your name next to the guy that made A Serbian Film on a film’s credit sequence. Drafthouse Films is hosting an open short film competition to choose the last director where contestants will choose their own word (starting with the Letter T (my money’s on “Trebuchet”)) and craft a short based on it. Entries will be whittled down to a final 10 by a public voting system, and the winner will be chosen by the directors listed above. There’s no entry fee, and it’s open from now until October 1st at midnight PST. Grab your camera. Get started.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s probably the last great nightly movie news column you’ll ever read, seeing as tomorrow is the apocalypse. And since it’s the end of days, we’re keeping things simple around here. Just a little trip down relevant street with a few detours along the way. If we don’t see you on the other side, just know that we loved you all. Even you. Tom Cruise feels like the perfect guy to feature on this, the last ever edition of Movie News After Dark. For one, he and the church of Scientology must have something to do with why God hates us. Also, he’s just been confirmed for Horizons, the $100 million dollar sci-fi flick that Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski has set up at Universal. Just when Cruise was starting to do awesome movies again, here comes the apocalypse to ruin it all. Thanks, L. Ron.

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The prospect of remaking Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes might seem sacrilege to some who obsess over the cult film from the insane director (who is solely responsible for making “Chaos Reigns!” the catch phrase of Fantastic Fest 2009), but it’s a good candidate for a remake here in the States. This is the sort of project that gets people to go back and view the criminally under-seen original. For a while, Steve Zaillian was signed on to produce the flick, but now he’s taking over the writing duties as well. That’s a formidable match. The science fiction element of a man accidentally traveling back in time and knocking over the dominoes that lead to a horrific crime is something that, obviously, Zaillian hasn’t had a chance to apply his impressive talents to yet. But the man knows character and he knows tension and he knows drama. Plus, as Drew over at HitFix astutely points out, his involvement as the writer could get some heavy directors (like Cronenberg) to turn their gaze to it. As long as Vigalondo is still involved, this may be one of a handful of remakes that’s actually warranted.

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At Fantastic Fest, chaos does, in fact, reign. Any attentive reader of this fine publication would know that. Last year, filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo coined the phrase as the somewhat unofficial motto of the fest. Based on a line from Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, “chaos reigns” means simply that at all times, the unexpected and strange is to be expected. How’s this for unexpected? Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League, actor Elijah Wood, Vigalondo and The Rza from Wu Tang walked onto the stage at The Highball last evening during the Chaos Reigns Karaoke event. The following video is what transpired. It is well worth a few minutes of your time…

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ff-fantasticawards

Luckily we had a list of the winners sent to us because we didn’t remember all the names. Or where our pants went.

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timecrimes_header

Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to look for films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to… Spain!

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FSR

Kevin Carr looks at Punisher: War Zone, Frost/Nixon and Timecrimes, in theaters this week with the FSR Report Card.

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